Safety in Vadsų and the Varanger region
The average traveller to Varanger should be safe most of the time. He/she normally ventures out in the wilderness on organized tours with a guide.
However, even in this case, a few general rules, concerning especially clothing in winter, should be respected (read details about clothing below).
Driving in Vadsų and Varanger
Besides dressing accordingly (which is of utmost importance), if you are going to drive in winter in Varanger, make sure the car is equipped with good winter, studded, tyres. There isn't so much traffic normally, and roads are cleared. However, under extreme conditions, roads might get closed. Sometimes on a very short notice. Make sure you check the Norwegian road safety website everytime before you set off. And make sure you have with you some extra water, food, or even a survival blanket, just in case.
Even in summer, as a general rule, check the weather forecast before venturing out and about.
And in general, even if the scenery is very tempting, be careful where you stop your car for taking photos!
Also pay attention to the imposed speed limits - they're not put there for nothing! ;)
What to wear when hunting the Aurora or when going out in the Arctic wilderness in the Vadsų neighbourhood?
In Varanger, winters are not as cold as you would think... at least not most of the time, and this due to the mild ocean currents (the "European" tail of the Gulfstream). But, from time to time, it might get cold and windy. Very cold and windy, that is! As for summers, they are normally mild and warm, sometimes even t-shirt warm! But the occasional temperature drop may happen, even in summertime. Make sure you have with you warm and long clothes if you visit us in summer, as well! Put in your suitcase even a pair of gloves, and a hat... you never know!
This guide applies especially for the winter time here in Vadsų and Varanger. As winters can be cold, an appropriate dressing "code" should be respected, for your own comfort and well-being. It should be respected especially when you are out in the wilderness, when very cold temperatures can be expected at any time.
The key code for dressing yourself up here in the Arctic during winter, is "layers". You need to adopt a layered-style outfit, in at least three layers.
The first layer is represented by the underwear. Top and bottom underwear, that is! Wool underwear is the best, especially if it is long. Some synthetic fiber underwear is OK as well, but avoid, at all costs, the cotton. Cotton stores moisture to your skin and you need fibers that transport it away from your skin.
As the middle layer, you should wear something that can offer your body some heat. Your best bet is fleece or wool, which you will wear on top of the underwear. In extreme cases, you can even use two middle layers, that is two fleeces one on top of the other.
The top layer should be composed of wind- and water-proof pants and top. The windproofing is of special importance, as the wind can make your body cool down quickly. In addition, windproofing can trap your body heat, not letting you freeze. If the outer layer also has a thermal function - the better. A good example is a ski outfit. Gore-tex is also a good example. And for those stylish out there - jeans are a special no-no in this category. Also, ski outfits are larger for a reason: to create a layer of insulation by the air, which - yes - make the pants and top a bit larger.
You must wear a good scarf around your neck, which will cover the "openings" represented by the collars of the other layers, through which a lot of heat can escape.
Don't forget about a pair of warm gloves or mittens. A special mention here is, if you use your phone for taking photos, think about a pair of gloves that can actually permit you to operate your touchscreen, without taking them off! In extreme cases, don't hesitate to wear two pairs of gloves, one on top of the other!
The winter hat is a must also, and it should cover your ears completely. It is recommended to have a windproof hat, as it will not let the heat escape through your head this way.
Socks and boots
Don't forget about wool socks - one or even two pairs one on top of the other. And a good pair of winter shoes. Good winter shoes mean that they should be warm and as non-slippery as possible. Spikes/crampons on top of your boots are also a must-have. The boots should also be high enough, not to let the snow get inside if you step in a thicker area with snow on the ground.
Keep in mind that, after getting out from a warm car, you will think you are warm enough. However, after a few minutes, the cold starts to bite, and if you are not dressed accordingly, you will feel it!
And, by the way, if you'd like to learn and understand weather and how it works, and, best of all, how to forecast it yourself just by looking at nature signs, book a Weather workshop with Aurora Labs! Everything is explained from scratch, kept simple, and, best of all, we'll create clouds and simulate weather ourselves, with simple experiments, so any non-scientist and non-meteorologist will understand! That's an Aurora Labs promise!